Chinese sailing star disappears in Pacific Ocean in attempt to set new solo world record

Guo Chuan attempting to sail from San Francisco to Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 3:57am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 3:57am

Chinese sailing star Guo Chuan has gone missing in the Pacific Ocean during an attempt to set a new solo world record, state media said on Wednesday.

“Guo was last heard just after 15:00 Tuesday Beijing time (0700 GMT) when his trimaran sailed 900 nautical miles off the west of Hawaii,” the official Xinhua news agency said, citing his team.

“All attempts to contact the sailor have failed,” it said, adding that a search aircraft from Honolulu had found Guo’s boat -- with the sail broken off -- but did not find the yachtsman on deck.

The US Coast Guard in Hawaii located Guo Chuan’s 30-foot trimaran early Wednesday. Rescuers continue to search for the 51-year-old sailor, who is trying to set a solo sailing record.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China contacted the Coast Guard in Honolulu Tuesday after not hearing from Chuan in 24 hours. Coast Guard spokeswoman Tara Molle says the China rescue coordination centre had been in constant contact with Chuan, who was not likely to miss scheduled calls.

Molle says Chuan’s racing vessel has an automatic identification system that showed it was 620 miles northwest of Oahu. Molle says knowing that Chuan is a healthy and experienced sailor gives rescuers hope.

Guo, 51, was aiming to set a new solo non-stop trans-Pacific world record from San Francisco to Shanghai, setting sail on October 19.

In 2013 the former scientist became the first sailor from China to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe.